Chekhovskie Medvedi have impressive win over Metalurg
Seeking a group phase knockout berth, Metalurg had little room for mistakes against a winless Chekhovskie.
But the hosts had an unexpected slow start, and ultimately, their game never got going, allowing the Russian "Bears" to earn their first win of the season.
- Medvedi's last win in the competition was on the 19th of November last year.
- Left back Dmitrii Santalov was Medvedi's top scorer, with seven goals.
- Metalurg are now three points behind Motor, who are in second place.
HC Metalurg (MKD) vs Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) 26:29 (12:17)
With an eight-game losing streak, and no win in the VELUX EHF Champions League since 19 November 2016, it seemed as if Chekhovskie were on the brink of tying their 11-game winless streak, which was their worst run without a win in the European top flight competition.
The Russian champions were the underdogs in the game against Metalurg. Despite this, it took them six and a half minutes to score their first goal, as Chekhovskie took a surprising 5:1 early lead, that prompted coach Aleksandar Jovikj to take a timeout for Metalurg.
With young right back Dmitri Santalov in superb form, the Russian side managed to keep their opponents at bay 8:3, after 14 minutes.
As the hosts desperately tried to make a comeback, they improved their offense, but their defence could not find the answer to Medvedi's attacking prowess. The Russians took a surprising17:12 lead at half time.
There was no comeback for Metalurg, except for a 3:0 run that brought the hosts to within a three-goal difference, 21:18.
But the young Medvedi side managed to keep their composure and they got their first win after 351 days in the VELUX EHF Champions League, 29:26.
Chehovskie Medvedi’s head coach Vladimir Maximov felt that his team’s defence was key in the match:
“We won because we had good defence right from the start of the game. We used every mistake Metalurg made in their attacks. We used the fact that Metalurg played a lot of attacks without a goalkeeper. At one stage, we had scored four goals on empty net. I need to say that our goalkeeper was also very good.”Author: Adrian Costeiu/kc